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Runner-up Bowyer : 'We need to win in a big way'
Clint Bowyer talks about his strong run at Sonoma Raceway while acknowledging he still has some work to do
Larson, Bowyer come together under caution
Kyle Larson and Clint Bowyer get together as Larson attempts to clean his tires, forcing Bowyer to scrape the wall at Pocono.
Bounce in Bowyer's step with second at Bristol
RELATED: Johnson prevails at Bristol " Race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Clint Bowyer's career revival was in full swing here Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway, with the Stewart-Haas Racing driver finishing second in the Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. It was Bowyer's best result since joining the four-car operation before the start of the 2017 season. In a race that was delayed one day by rain, Bowyer could see but could not catch eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson in the waning laps of 500-lap affair. The seven-time champion was a tick of the stopwatch ahead at the finish line, earning his 82nd career victory and further cementing his status as one of the series' greatest drivers of all time. Seventh when he brought his car to pit road for the final time during a caution on Lap 464, Bowyer restarted ninth for the final push. It wasn't long before he was battling with Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson for the lead. Then it was only Johnson out his front windshield. "It's Jimmie Johnson," Bowyer , 37, said. "You're just … you try everything you possibly can and I was starting to do some pretty desperate things with brakes and my line and stuff like that, and then you just realize -- your mindset quickly changes, and you're like, 'all right, let's put it in perspective here; we've come a long way, it was a long day, and second place is probably a good run for us, and we should be happy with that. We shouldn't hang our head about it.' " This was no finish created by smoke and mirrors -- Bowyer and the No. 14 team, led by crew chief Mike Buggarewicz, earned every position picked up on the high-banked half-mile oval. And there were plenty to be collected. Bowyer started ninth on the 39-car grid but quickly found himself the last car on the lead lap. "Way too loose," he said. "(We) just missed it." Then, after racing his way inside the top 10 and staying there, a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 326. "Mike made some great adjustments (and) the pit crew was on their game all day long … gained spots almost every time and then I lost them all back on pit road speeding," Bowyer said. "Went to the back again, and then drove back up through them." The decision to take four tires on the final stop was crucial. "I think the 48 (of Johnson) was the other one (to take four tires) and he won the race, so the right strategy was there," Bowyer said. "The team effort was there. You know, that's what a weekend is all about. It's just been this long since I've won a race and here is pretty special. It would have been pretty cool to be over there in Victory Lane." Bowyer has finished 13th or better in seven consecutive races and Monday's runner-up effort edged out a third-place run at Auto Club Speedway for "season's best" honors at this point. In 2016, driving for the now defunct HScott Motorsports, he had no top-five finishes and just three top 10s, numbers he has already exceeded. Pleased with a runner-up, but disappointed just the same. "Been that way my whole life," said Bowyer , who has eight career victories but none since 2012. "Since I was about 5 years old. "You struggle and struggle and struggle for a year and a half .. and hell, next thing you know you're being greedy about (finishing) second. "That's just the way racers are and the way it's always been. (But) having a ton of fun and working hard and seeing the results is gratifying for this race team." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Clint Bowyer leads final practice at Martinsville
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Martinsville " Full schedule for Martinsville MORE: Final practice results " Best 10-lap averages Clint Bowyer led Saturday's final practice at Martinsville Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ahead of Sunday's STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Bowyer turned a fast lap of 93.863 mph around the .526-mile track in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Defending race winner Kyle Busch was second in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 93.567 mph. Jamie McMurray (93.530 mph, No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) was third in the 50-minute session. Brad Keselowski (93.525 mph, Team Penske No. 2 Ford) and Ryan Newman (93.511 mph, No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) rounded out the top five. Kyle Larson, last week's winner at Auto Club and the driver with the top starting spot for Sunday's race, was 14th at 92.951 mph. Keselowski leads Practice 2 Practice 2 results Keselowski topped Saturday's first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session with a fast lap of 94.406 mph. The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford has yet to win at Martinsville but has two runner-up finishes in the last four races at the .526-mile track. Newman (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) came in second (94.092 mph) for the 55-minute practice session, followed by Martin Truex Jr. (93.835 mph, No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota) in third. Joey Logano (93.835 mph, No. 22 Team Penske Ford) and AJ Allmendinger (93.729 mph, No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet) rounded out the top five. Nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) finished seventh (93.604 mph). &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bowyer leads rain-shortened Talladega practice
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Talladega RELATED: Practice results Clint Bowyer led a brief practice session Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, turning a lap in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford at 196.822 mph. Bowyer clocked the time before the red flag came out at 2:44 p.m. ET for rain after 13 minutes, 29 seconds of action on the 2.66-mile track. Kevin Harvick was second in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford at 196.439 mph. Rounding out the top five were Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, Kurt Busch in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and Joey Logano on the No. 22 Team Penske Ford. The session was so abbreviated because of rain that Erik Jones and Kyle Busch completed a field-high 13 laps for the most time on the track. The cars of Kyle Larson, Danica Patrick and Ty Dillon were scheduled to sit out the first 15 minutes of practice to serve penalties, and were not able to turn a single lap. Larson and Dillon were late to pre-race inspection at Richmond; Patrick failed pre-race LIS. Rain in the area led to the cancelling of final practice, which had been scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET. &amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;
Cassill bites off more 'than I can chew,' Bowyer burns Jones
Editor's note: Every Friday during the season, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" presents eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. Follow @NASCAR 1. When your wife snoops your Twitter pic.twitter.com/757z0XlPDf — landon cassill (@landoncassill) April 10, 2017 2. Let me guess, you kept it on rookie mode the whole time? https://t.co/pxPAPfw0aG — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) April 11, 2017 @erik_jones . @Erik_Jones nope, I’m totally new at Halo but I don’t like to lose to people who haven’t started shaving yet. pic.twitter.com/4cYdUOg627 — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) April 11, 2017 3. Less then 24 hours ago my feed suggested the beard was bad luck... Must be the glasses then. https://t.co/HVGcw4w70P — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) April 10, 2017 The secret ingredient to victory - beards. Beards and then sunglasses. #NASCAR #IndyCar pic.twitter.com/PFH6n8W5j7 — nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) April 9, 2017 4. RETWEET THIS TWEET ❗️ @landoncassill has agreed to be our gate greeter on race day Sunday and give away a hot pass if this gets 1,500 RTs pic.twitter.com/SadFrqctGG — Chicagoland Speedway (@ChicagolndSpdwy) April 10, 2017 5. With 27 days 'til the #GEICO500 , we've discovered some VERY important video footage of a sight rarely seen. cc: @RCRracing pic.twitter.com/3MZAryEi26 — TalladegaSuperspdwy (@TalladegaSuperS) April 10, 2017 6. Dog sorry cat people your weird face it. https://t.co/V1PVxLfXBv — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) April 10, 2017 @tydillon you a cat or dog person? — Josh Berger (@joshbberger) April 10, 2017 7. Awkward hug dare number one... The rule was that I wasn't allowed to disengage from the hug. This one lasted a while. pic.twitter.com/zHecoVaXt1 — Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) April 11, 2017 8. Had a blast with my amigos @kylepetty and @RutledgeWood in my beautiful city! pic.twitter.com/wf1LP10MXG — Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) April 11, 2017
Junior annoys in zen room, Bowyer can't sleep, more tweets
Editor's note: Every Friday during the season, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" presents eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. 1. Couples Massage: to the lady I annoyed in the zen room. If cell phones aren't allowed my robe wouldn't have pockets. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) February 14, 2017 2. I saved % on Valentine's Day this year by switching to single — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) February 14, 2017 3. Got some new @YETICoolers to travel with but it seems that Keelan has other thoughts of what should be in the bag.. pic.twitter.com/RYPLdcW5pC — Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) February 16, 2017 4. Off-season training regimen comes to a end... @PaigeKeselowski has me training with 2 hp today on honeymoon 750hp Friday @DISupdates pic.twitter.com/viehEdsHyZ — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) February 15, 2017 5. My 5:30 wake up alarm. Even on a Saturday??? Come on man! pic.twitter.com/Jw5Bc6fOrV — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) February 11, 2017 6. 7000ft was the place to be this morning coming home! pic.twitter.com/BC4ZC7vGPY — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) February 12, 2017 7. Thank you @tacobell for the goodie bag. We made it ma! If you remember my prank on the interns last year, it's featured on #tacobellclipshow pic.twitter.com/tMupx7iArB — landon cassill (@landoncassill) February 15, 2017 8. On my way to @KernRaceway and we passed under a . That's good luck right!? pic.twitter.com/nPUkgj9mx4 — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 11, 2017
Bowyer gears up for 'best opportunity' with Stewart-Haas
RELATED: First look at paint schemes of 2017 CONCORD, N.C. -- There's been plenty for Clint Bowyer to adjust to in the brief time that he's officially been a member of Stewart-Haas Racing 's driver roster. He's had to acclimate himself to the way that his new team operates. He's also had to become more familiar with the personnel on the No. 14 Ford that Bowyer will drive in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. A helpful hand from his new crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, has helped Bowyer adjust to both of those new concepts. When Bowyer half-jokingly asked Bugarewicz if he had a team roster to keep him from addressing his crewmembers with, "Hey, buddy," or similar salutations, the second-year crew chief unexpectedly delivered. "He's such a dedicated person and so prepared, he literally went and took pictures of all the guys and e-mailed me the names of them," Bowyer said Wednesday during a preseason media event at the sprawling Ford Performance Technical Center. "I'm like, 'Man, you didn't have to do that. I could've come down.' " At which point Tony Stewart , his team owner and predecessor in the No. 14, interjected: "He says he didn't need that. He needed that, trust me." Laughing aside, Bowyer continued to underscore his point. "That's the level of dedication that you have at Stewart-Haas," Bowyer said. "And it doesn't just end with Mike, it's all across the board. If you ask for something … you've got to be careful asking for something because it's just done." RELATED: Harvick bullish on changes " Transition to Ford among top story lines The next adjustment that Bowyer may have to make is getting accustomed to relevance, something in short supply even before he was announced Sept. 30, 2015 as the successor to three-time series champion Stewart for the organization's flagship team. Bowyer drove in relative obscurity for Michael Waltrip Racing in its waning days, then languished through a throwaway season in 2016 with the former HScott Motorsports operation as he waited his turn to join SHR. "If he could've clicked his heels three times and made it 2017, he'd have done it in a heartbeat," Stewart said. "But we were all just reminding him: 'Be patient. You've got a lot to look forward to.' And we were hoping that his season would turn around at some point, too, but it didn't work out that way and it wasn't for a lack of effort on their side. "I think the nice thing, though, is -- as odd as this sounds -- I've seen him a lot calmer than I saw him all last year. I don't know that he's ever calm, but you can tell he's excited about what's coming up. He's genuinely excited about getting in the 14 car and that makes us happy, too." RELATED: Stewart at ease in new role at SHR Bowyer's authentic anticipation is attached to what he calls "the best opportunity I've ever had." Not only does the 37-year-old driver now have an avenue to potentially return to Victory Lane for the first time in more than four seasons, he also has the chance to place his name back among the sport's top tier. Bowyer has always been known as one of the most animated and energetic figures in the NASCAR garage. But performance -- or a lack of it, in the case of Bowyer's most recent body of work -- has a way of shuffling even the most engaging figures to the shadows. Bowyer's return to a high-profile ride likely changes both the prevailing perceptions and his exposure level, but the results will need to follow suit. "Here's what I hope -- I sure hope you're watching me," Bowyer said. "At the end of the day, relevancy in this sport is everything and I've lost that a little bit. Not a little bit, a lot. And I felt it and didn't like it. It's up to me to go out and become relevant again, have you watch me and talking about me. "It makes everything better. This is a business. This is racing, but once you race at this level, it becomes a business and it trickles down to everything in your life. We're race car drivers but we do this for a business. From my dirt program, everything, my (car) dealership, it just really trickles down. Every business thing that's happened really feeds off of your success on that race track. I had a bad year and I want to become relevant again. You don't work as hard and you have a hell of a lot more fun." RELATED: Key moments in SHR history Before he embarks on that goal, Bowyer has had fun getting better acquainted with his new surroundings, no doubt aided by Bugarewicz's handy chart. But the jollity has also extended to enjoying the luxuries of championship-level equipment for a change. Bowyer marveled at the comfort and quality of his new carbon-fiber seat, remarking "I feel rich" with regards to the perfectly tailored fit. And in a further illustration of Stewart-Haas' attention to precise details, Bowyer was asked last weekend about his preference for a gearshift handle. When the newest SHR driver reacted with indifference in saying that any handle would do, he was presented with eight possible choices. "I think we have dialed in the right gearshift handle for myself and my success this year," Bowyer said with a wry smile. "If not, we have plenty of extras to go around." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Cain: Familiar spark returns for Bowyer at Stewart-Haas
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Martinsville " Full schedule Clint Bowyer's smiling again, making jokes and most importantly, repositioning himself back among NASCAR's group of race favorites. Since taking over the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford for retired NASCAR champion Tony Stewart, Bowyer's reeling off the best finishes he's had in two years -- including a season-best third-place finish at California's Auto Club Speedway last week. Things are looking up for the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series runner-up. One of the brightest personalities in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage, Bowyer's high wattage presence was noticeably dimmed a bit in 2016 driving for an under-funded, under-achieving team as he waited -- under contract -- for his seat in the 2011 championship-winning No. 14 upon his friend Stewart's retirement. With only three top 10s compared to 13 finishes of 25th or worse last year, Bowyer was clearly taking one for the team and doesn't like to look back, only forward. RELATED: Bowyer's career statistics " See how Bowyer got ready for Daytona Other than maybe championship-winning Jimmie Johnson, there was no one more ready for the final checkered flag at Homestead. As far as Bowyer was concerned, legitimately high expectations were reset immediately. And that's the mode of operation now. "It's been an OK start to the year," Bowyer said last weekend before his top-three California finish. " Obviously, you always want to be better. It's solid, but we've got to get into the top 10. This is a top-10 organization and race team, and anything less than that needs to improve." He made good on that demand 24 hours later with a hard-fought, well-raced showing in Southern California. Asked later what his boss Stewart had to say about the uptick, Bowyer just grinned, "Good job." RELATED: Heck, yeah! Bowyer's back But, he clarified, "Tony wins a lot of races. He's won a lot of races. Anything less than a win, you know ... he expects that. And I love that about Tony. "You know, obviously I know he's proud. He was happy with that. But that's what you want in an owner. To have that instilled in everything, in your DNA, I mean, this is the way I was raised. Anything else but a win is a bad day. You are miserable with anything less than that. "It's just the way we're wired as a race car driver from 5 years old and on. The problem is, is everybody else on that racetrack is wired the same way. So there's really only one guy happy and everybody else is pissed at the end of the day, is what it boils down to." All indications are that it's been a great fit for Bowyer at Stewart-Haas, and that has provided another element of confidence to boost Bowyer's expectations. He was teammates with Kevin Harvick at Richard Childress Racing early in his career and is longtime friends with Stewart, making this transition easier off-track. The translation, he expects, is high quality on-track. "I love the atmosphere, the culture, the people, they're just racers,’’ Bowyer said. "There's no fluff and buff, no smoke and mirrors. There's just racers who grew up doing what I do. Even the engineers seem like they have a racing background. Nowadays you'll meet engineers who never were a part of it, just extremely intelligent. Seems like they're all in it to win it and that goes all the way from the tire changers to the top. It's all you can ask for." Given the top-level equipment, proven team and fresh start, Bowyer reiterated last weekend that he fully expects to win a race this season, perhaps several. It's a better talking point, a legitimate goal and overall quality chance to remind everyone that he's championship-caliber. Title-worthy. His eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins have come on all kinds of tracks from the Sonoma, California, road course to the Talladega Superspeedway to the Richmond short track and Charlotte 1.5-miler. There's no doubt what Bowyer can do. It's just getting back in the saddle again, so to speak. And on a fast horse. "It's just the opportunity you've been waiting on," Bowyer said. "Everybody knows the situation. You know, this opportunity, this is something I signed up for a year and a half ago. I've been champing at the bit to be with an organization like this, to have an army of people behind you like this, the teammates, the sponsors we have, the manufacturer in Ford, all of that. "It's the total package at Stewart ‑ Haas Racing, which is why they've won a championship and win all these races that we see. That's what you thrive to be a part of. "Finally got my opportunity to be there." And he's making good.
See the complete series of Clint Bowyer : Behind The Wall
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Atlanta The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is the start of a new chapter for Clint Bowyer as he moves to Stewart-Haas Racing to replace the retired, three-time champion Tony Stewart as the driver of the No. 14 Ford. A three-part mini doc-series for NASCAR Digital and Facebook, follows Bowyer's journey for the season-opening Daytona 500. Watch all three parts below.